The amazing versatility of grey is what makes it so popular
Looking for grey living room ideas? You’ve come to right place. The 1980s may have had magnolia, but the wall colour of the Millennium so far is grey. And it’s so easy to see why. Grey can create a warm scheme as easily as a cool one; it can channel edgy modern and charming country; be calm and soothing or vivid, lively and energetic.
Just a quick peek at a Farrow & Ball paint chart suggests the myriad possibilities of this favourite decorating shade and explains its enduring appeal: from the barely-there neutrals of Dimity and Ammonite, to the mid tones of Lamp Room Gray and Calluna, through the green-edged Mizzle and Pigeon, blue-hued Parma Gray and Lulworth Blue and out the other side to deep dark Down Pipe, Plummett and Brassica.
Each shade of grey is capable of creating a different look, feel and style of living room and the shade that you choose will be part and parcel of your own personal style. Modern schemes tend to call for cooler, darker, dramatic charcoals or near-blacks, while vintage and classic-inspired styles have a natural affinity with warmer blue and green-toned greys.
Want more colour inspiration? READ: Living room colour schemes brimming with character
1. Bring grey to life with bright colours
Worried grey alone might seem a bit dull? Then choose your accessories carefully. A blue sofa, yellow chair and tomato red lamp really sing out against a mid-grey backdrop. Pull everything together with a rug that features all the different shades that you are using, and voilà – decorating perfection!
2. Add warmth with vintage pieces
Here, the grey comes courtesy of carpets, curtains and two squishy sofas. But the owner of this real home has been careful not to make it too cool. Blush cushions, old shutters hung up on the wall and a vintage trunk introduce cosy tones, making this the perfect space to snuggle.
3. Combine colours
Take the intimidation out of grey by warming up this look with oh-so-fashionable copper accessories. The rose-gold undertones have a lovely way of adding a glow to the scheme, making it warm and inviting. If you don’t want to go grey-all-over, consider creating a winning colour combination by teaming grey with pink. This pretty duo packs a stylish punch.
4. Inject a shot of sunshine yellow
If you’ve already dipped your toe into the grey trend with pale walls, you may now be ready to take things a few shades darker. As you can see, it’s a sophisticated way to go, and will instantly make a room feel cosier.
However, if you’re nervous it will seem too dark, stick to one feature wall – you can always paint the others at a later date. Yellow accessories will also brighten things up, provided you choose a strong enough shade. This deep daffodil shade is ideal.
5. Give florals a sophisticated twist
There’s something almost regal about this deep grey living room, with pops of colour provides by the curtains, cushions and purple upholstery. Using such a dark backdrop really brings out the brighter tones, and it does something magical to a floral print, making it appear edgy and modern as opposed to mumsy or in any way old-fashioned.
Get the look
Buy now: Floribunda Magenta Fabric, £25 m, Curtains Made Simple
Buy now: Similar, Wallis Three-seater Sofa, £899, Ideal Home at Very
6. Go global
Grey makes a fine backdrop to these energising Ikat patterns and hints of rich orange. Try this look with mid-century furniture, add elegance with smooth, dark woods, or create a Wild-West feel with weathered wood and leather.
7. Start with a feature wall
A feature wall is always a good place jump-off point if you’re nervous of working with a new shade. You could even start by painting a chimney breast. Or you could take it to the next level and commission built-in furniture from a local carpenter, then finish it in a deep grey. Coordinate with carpets and upholstery in a paler shade.
Get the look
Buy now: Padstow Two-seater Sofa in Highland Check, £1,085, Laura Ashley
8. Use grey furniture
This traditional living room creates a striking feature using floor-to-ceiling built-in bookcases. The unit has been painted the same soft shade of grey as the walls, allowing it to blend seamlessly in with the rest of the room. The grey of the sofa and radiator brings the whole look together while splashes of colour have been added using the books themselves and scatter cushions.
Get the look
Buy now: Similar, Hakin Shaggy Rug, £139, La Redoute
9. Mix grey with warmer neutrals
Create a relaxing living room with a tightly controlled palette of toning greys and neutrals. Mid-tone grey walls and flooring provide a warm, inviting backdrop for a neutral sofa and rug and delicately patterned cushions. The footstool and lustrous throw introduce a deeper accent grey, while the painted wall is tailor made for a gallery of black-and-white family photographs, mounted in matching white frames. A white lamp and side tables balance the darker grey accents, bringing the scheme together.
Get the look
Buy now: Similar, Sahara Fabric Corner Sofa, £1335, Furniture Village
Buy now: Similar, Footstool, £445, Loaf
10. Introduce plenty of pattern and texture
For a winter-proof living room you’ll want to hunker down in, texture is key. Furry cushions and super-soft blankets make this the perfect space to curl up in. Break up those shades of grey with some well-chosen pattern dainty curtains, a statement rug and chunky weaves are all it takes.
Get the look
Buy now: Similar, Dyrole Cotton Printed Rug, from £59, La Redoute
11. Keep it classic
If you fancy a more traditional feel in your living room, don’t overdo the grey. This wonderfully smart scheme uses a mid grey on walls and built-in storage, adds a hint of it in blue/grey occasional chairs, but gives the rest of the scheme up to white, leather and wood. An upholstered footstool and rugs are vehicles for warm red pattern. The Chesterfield sofa is a classic touch in keeping with the traditional fireplace and book storage. It is the footstool fabric and mid century-style chairs that update the look.
12. Play with trends
Try a fusion of styles with this grey living room that contrasts rough industrial with global grandness. The grey-toned neutral colour palette is the starting point, teamed with a mix of geometric and ikat print fabrics. Follow this with contrasting furniture styles, from the grand Chesterfield sofa and retro leather armchair to the industrial steel shelving and coffee table.
Get the look
Buy now: Baker Tapered Drawer Rack, £599, Barker & Stoneware
Buy now: Sullivan Coffee Table, £269, Swoon Editions
13. Experiment with different depths of grey
Pick a plump sofa for lounging. This charcoal grey number adds elegance and interest to a minimal room. Explore the many depths of a grey colour palette by layering tones to create a scheme that looks cohesive. By using the same colour, but in both its palest and deepest incarnations, you can create a rich, contrasting look that is co-ordinated. A glass coffee table and side table add a glamorous note.
14. Create a grey coastal scheme
Try this take on a traditional coastal scheme but instead of sea blues, the colour palette here is a cool wintry grey. Start with a pale wash of grey over the walls, then bring in pieces of weathered-wood furniture and faded linen upholstery to give the room a lived-in look. Accessorise with whitewashed basketware, driftwood, smooth ceramics and opaque glassware to carry on the coastal theme.
15. Go smart with grey
Smarten up a family living room with a modern grey and monochrome scheme with a graphic linear wallpaper as the focal point. Worried that a modern scheme might look too grey? Add pops of a bright accent colour on cushions and accessories. Bring in an informal element with a picture ledge positioned above the sofa – line with family photographs and favourite prints that you can add to and rearrange at leisure.
16. Pretty up grey with pink
Use the gentlest of greys as a springboard for blush pink, plum and buff tones. Mid century-style furniture rubs shoulders here with contemporary pieces in brilliant hi-gloss white. The floor-to-ceiling curtain adds a lovely touch of dip-dyed pink, while cushions and floral displays channel rich plum tones. Grey and pink is a winning combination, particularly suited to contemporary schemes.
17. Make it modern
Team cool grey and geometrics with primrose yellow splashes for a vintage look with a modern twist. Keep the scheme contemporary with grey walls and furniture, then add warmth with hints of yellow in geometric prints and furnishings and character with a cool mix of retro accessories. Wooden cube tables and copper details complement the retro vibe.
Love these grey living room ideas? Will you be incorporating grey into your next living room colour plan?